What will happen to PoK, will there be any change in Modi's foreign policy in the third term?

Ananya Shroff
6 Min Read

Saibal Dasgupta
No matter how much the opposition celebrates, the reality is that Narendra Modi's third consecutive victory has further enhanced his global image. Now he will put forward his views as the leader of a coalition government, which includes many political parties. This will further strengthen India's geopolitical position.

Victory of Democracy:
This general election has given a comeback to the opposition parties, which is being seen as a victory for Indian democracy in the West and neighbouring countries. The country's democratic credentials are an important reason why the Modi government has been able to smoothly transition from the non-alignment philosophy of previous governments to a pragmatic multi-alliance policy.

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Previous Team: There seems to be no scope for major changes in the country's foreign policy. This is because the four personalities influencing it have not changed. They are – PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. The only exception is NSA Ajit Doval. He has completed his tenure and now he has expressed reluctance to take further responsibility.

improvement required: There may be some improvements in foreign policy. Despite Modi's presence on the world stage, his government has generally been seen as a Hindu right-wing and majoritarian government. This is how the Western media presents the Modi government. Due to this, India's relations with the Muslim world have been affected from time to time, despite India's growing strategic proximity to the Gulf countries.

Nupur Sharma case:
For example, in 2022, when BJP national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and the party's Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal made derogatory statements about Prophet Muhammad, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) objected. The BJP leadership had to take immediate action. Nupur was suspended by the party, while Jindal was expelled from the party. The Ministry of External Affairs described the OIC statement as baseless and narrow-minded. But, the episode had created diplomatic uneasiness.

Anti-India Campaign: Recently, the 'India Out' campaign was launched in Maldives. This led to the victory of China-leaning Mohammed Muizzu, among many other things. He became the President of Maldives in November 2023. Interestingly, Muizzu was also among the foreign guests who attended Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

Neighbours' concerns:
Earlier this year, some opposition political groups in Bangladesh also tried to launch an 'India Out' campaign. However, they did not have much success. Both Maldives and Bangladesh are Muslim-majority countries. A section of their population is worried about the right-wing government in India.

Changes to the image: The Modi government includes political parties like TDP and JDU. In such a situation, the right-wing image of this government should change. These parties are considered secular and minority friendly. During the Lok Sabha elections, Bihar CM and JDU chief Nitish Kumar had told Muslim voters, 'You should know about communal disputes beforehand. Graveyards were neglected. I got fencing done. Never forget this.' TDP has made it clear that it will continue the policy of giving 4% reservation to Muslims under the OBC list. This is contrary to the stand of BJP, which is in favor of ending reservation for Muslims under the 'Hindu' OBC quota. In the current political situation, it will not be right for BJP leaders to speak directly or indirectly against the Muslims of the country.

Work on the image: The Modi government has begun to change its image. Addressing NDA members for the first time on June 7, PM Modi said that his government believes in 'Sarva Panth Sambhav'. At the diplomatic level, the image of a friendly and accommodating government will help it make many friends, especially in the oil-producing Arab world. It will also weaken Pakistan's persistent campaign against India.

Violence erupts in Beijing:
Modi had started feeling the efforts for change even before his swearing-in, when he first spoke to Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te through messages. But, he did not call Lai. China has not recognized Lai's victory in the elections held last month. It claims its right over Taiwan. In such a situation, the conversation between Modi and Lai was enough to provoke it. It reminded India of the 'One China Policy' and said that it does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country.

Taiwan Card: It is expected that the Modi government will ask Taiwanese semiconductor companies to invest in China. China will strongly oppose any such move. The big question is whether India will also use the Taiwan card to resolve the border dispute with China. Whenever a country builds direct relations with Taiwan, China gets nervous.

What will happen to POK: An important question is whether the new government will move forward as per the wishes of the BJP and raise the issue of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir at the international level. Amit Shah has been continuously saying that PoK is ours and we will take it back. He did not clarify whether the step to be taken for this would be diplomatic or military action. The new NDA government will look like the old BJP government with proper checks and balances. This is good news for India on the world stage.

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